GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1999-08 > 0935266097
From: John Carmi Parsons <>
Subject: Re: Margaret de Clare
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 16:08:17 -0400 (EDT)
I'd expect some contemporary reference to twins. We know, for example, that
Joan "of Acre's" sister Elizabeth, countess of Hereford/Essex, had twin sons.
As the Clare estates were ultimately divided among Joan's daughters, we'd
almost certainly know if two of them were twins.
On Sat, 21 Aug 1999, Sutliff wrote:
> John Carmi Parsons wrote:
> > There seems to be some confusion over the dates of birth of the children
> > of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Hertford and Gloucester (1243-95) and Joan
> > "of Acre" (1272-1307), daughter of Edward I.
> > Contemporary chronicle evidence and the testimony of Edward I's wardrobe
> > accounts confirm that Joan's first child by Gilbert, another Gilbert, was
> > born in May 1291. The dates of birth of her last three children, all
> > daughters, are not as specifically recorded and must be recovered from the
> > inquisitions post mortem taken following the death at Bannockburn in 1314
> > of their brother Gilbert, the last Clare earl of Hertford and Gloucester.
> > Only two of the sisters' births can be determined in this way, however.
> > Elizabeth, the youngest, was born in November 1295, only weeks before her
> > father's death.
> > But it appears to have been the eldest of the the three sisters, Eleanor,
> > who was born in October 1292 and not Margaret, the second of the three.
> > All contemporary record sources agree that Eleanor was the eldest, and as
> > the human reproductive cycle is fixed within certain limits there is, even
> > biologically speaking, barely enough time between May 1291, when young Gilbert
> > was born, and October 1292 when it is alleged Margaret was born, for yet
> > another child to have been born. If we factor in the prevailing custom of
> > a woman's confinement for a period of up to 60 days (two months) between the
> > birth of a child and her churching or purification, it becomes even less likely
> > that Joan "of Acre" could have borne Gilbert in May 1291, then Eleanor and
> > then Margaret in October 1292.
> > Frances Underhill's biography of the youngest sister Elizabeth (to be published
> > in November by St Martin's Press in New York) date Eleanor's birth to October
> > 1292, Margaret's c. 1295 and Elizabeth's in November 1295.
> > John Parsons
> Does the evidence preclude that Eleanor and Margaret might have been twins, with
> Margaret the younger? Or was it customary for the chronicles to identify twins?
> Thanks for addressing this.
> Henry Sutliff
|Re: Margaret de Clare by John Carmi Parsons <>|